Futaleufu Expedition & Multi-Sport – Chile

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9 Days of Camp-based Multi-Sport

$4500 plus Internal Flights*

per person based on double occupancy

*return airfare from Puerto Montt to Chaiten is not included in the $4500 base price, (an additional $250). We book this for you.

2021 Dates:

January 30 – February 7, 2021

March 6 – 14, 2021

Deposit: $1000  Meeting Place: Puerto Montt  Gateway City: Santiago  River Rating: III-V  Age Range: 14-72

The Futaleufú River valley in Chile is one of the world’s gems. The valley, which is approximately 1,500 kilometers south of Santiago in northern Patagonia, is famous for its world-class whitewater. It has become a Mecca for kayakers and rafters alike but there’s a lot more to the valley beyond its continuous class II-V rapids. The “Fu” as it is affectionately known, is an incredible destination with crystal clear water in contrast with huge snow-capped mountains, lush verdant valleys and an incredible gaucho culture that transcends everything, offering the perfect setting to explore the river and the surrounding corridor.

This “expedition” and multi-sport is much different than our basecamp program at Futa Camp. On this trip we’ll enjoy a circuitous route and use a variety of eclectic private camps in key locations that will give you the opportunity to experiment each of the activities from a privileged place. Designed to be in tune with the environment, these camps will surprise you with unique features, hot tubs and amazing views. The multi-sport nature of the trip combined with these outrageously scenic and varied venues is the perfect blend of comfort, culture and adventure.

Whether we are in the Tree Camp, Cave Camp or perched on the banks of Terminator Rapid, each evening you will be indulged with fine wines, microbrew beers and wonderful wholesome food, while we share anecdotes of this unique part of Patagonia.

 


 

Itinerary at a Glance

  • Enjoy Puerto Varas’ gingerbread downtown and lakeside views, the ultimate starting point for any Patagonian adventure
  • Scenic flight over mountains and glaciers to Chaiten, hike to Ventisquero Glacier
  • Soak in a hot tub at Terminator Camp, the Futa’s largest rapid
  • Hike and try canyoning on Arroyo Blanco River gorge
  • Kayak the beautiful Azul River, raft the famous Inferno Canyon
  • Explore Cave Camp perched above Zeta Rapid, soak in a natural stone hot tub
  • Ropes course & trekking to Condor Hill and Treehouse Camp, sleep in the trees!
  • Learn to rock climb, zip line and rappel a 300-foot granite wall
  • Inflatable kayak the Azul River
  • Challenge miles and miles of Class III- IV+ whitewater, (with optional class V)

 

What to Expect on the Futaleufu Expedition & Multi-sport

Day 1: Puerto Varas – Arrival day

Arrive in Santiago, Chile. Collect your luggage, pass through Customs and then re check in for your domestic flight to  Puerto Montt – gate way to Patagonia! Our meeting point is the beautiful city of Puerto Varas in the Lakes region, adjacent Puerto Montt. During the day, you will have the chance to go through its streets and contemplate the beauty of Lago Llanquihue. In the evening, we will gather in a welcome dinner and drinks.

Day 2: Puerto Montt – Chaitén – Yelcho Glacier – Terminator Camp

From Puerto Montt, we board a plane for a spectacular flight to the town of Chaitén, where beautiful trails immersed in the heart of the rain forest will lead us to the Ventisquero Glacier. On our hike we’ll be able to enjoy the unique flora and fauna of this unique ecosystem. As we get closer to the glacier, we’ll experience the greatness of this ice formation, which is true spectacle of nature! Afterwards, we will continue to Futaleufú on a scenic road that goes from the ocean to the mountains. Upon arrival we will check into our bamboo huts and spend the night in Terminator Camp, nestled alongside the most famous rapid of the Futaleufu River.

Day 3: Canyoneering – Training Day – Terminator Camp

Today’s adventure begins with canyoneering in Arroyo Blanco (White Creek). The creek runs through a spectacular canyon of white granite and turquoise water, which we will traverse on foot until we reach a waterfall.

Later, we will have our training day. A very exciting section of the river will allow us to train and prepare for the challenges the rest of the week will bring. After all the action, we head back to our camp to relax and enjoy a good meal and a wood-fired hot tub overlooking Terminator rapid.

Day 4: Kayaking – Inferno Canyon – Cave Camp

After a delicious breakfast, we are off to the Espolon River for a morning of kayaking your own crafts. The Espolon is a perfect place for beginners and the scenery is spectacular. After a riverside lunch, we’ll transfer to rafts and enter one of the most challenging portions of the river, Inferno Canyon. Inferno is a striking canyon with impressive class IV and V rapids. After all the exciting whitewater, we will continue downstream to Cave Camp, perched high above Zeta, a mandatory portage for all but a few kayakers. At camp, we will have free time to explore and enjoy its many features, including the little blue lake, a sandy beach, a wooden hot tub, a stone hot tub, and much more!

Day 5: Tyrolean – Trekking – Condor Hill – Tree House Camp

A stunning trek will lead us to our next camp, aptly named Tree House Camp. On our way, we cross the Futaleufu with a pulley system suspended over the most dramatic rapid of the river. On the other side, we start our hike to our camp enjoying spectacular views all along the way. Upon arrival, we will find ourselves in a unique place with a series of tree houses interconnected by bridges. After lunch we’ll have time to swim in the lake, go kayaking, or relax at the hot tub right next to the lake. We will also have the possibility of hiking up to Condor Hill, where condor sights are very common. Condors are typical birds of Chile with a wingspan of over 10 feet.

Day 6: Trekking, Zip Line, Rock Climbing & Rappel – Cave Camp

After hiking back to the banks of the river, we will “zip line” across the Fu on a pulley system flying through the air and sliding over the river. Adventurous souls may opt to jump into the river from different altitudes up to 40 feet high and feel the adrenaline of a free fall. In the afternoon, we will climb and hike a rock formation for spectacular 360º views. From the top, we can rappel off a 300-foot granite wall. The climb has been carefully designed to accommodate people of all ages and abilities as there are different levels of difficulty to choose from. At the day’s end, we will relax in the hot tub overlooking the river and enjoy another riverside feast.

Day 7: Rafting & Kayaking – The Nuns Camp

We start early for a full day of water activities. In the morning we will raft an entertaining section of the river with class IV and IV+ rapids until we reach our lunch spot. In the afternoon, after a short hike, we will use inflatable kayaks to challenge the Rio Azul through a beautiful canyon until it meets the Futaleufu. From here, we will keep kayaking until our next camp: The Nuns. In camp, we will have time to relax at the cliff hot tub, and enjoy a Patagonian asado (lamb barbecue) overlooking the river and its landmark mountains.

Day 8: Big Rafting Day – Yelcho Lodge

After a good breakfast and stocking up on energy, we will face the biggest whitewater day of our trip. We will start by rafting Terminator Rapid, Himalayas, and the entire Bridge to Casa section of the Fu until we reach our lunch spot. It will be an action-packed experience full of excitement, adrenaline, and fun! From there, we will shuttle to Yelcho Lodge and share a farewell dinner.

Day 9: Yelcho Lodge – Chaitén – Puerto Montt

After breakfast we will drive to Chaitén Airport to go back to Puerto Montt and catch the flight back to Santiago. Along the way, we can enjoy the scenery and incredible beauty of the area, reliving a journey that will certainly leave a mark on our lives.

 


Your Accommodations in Chile:

This trip is an “expedition” that covers the most terrain of our Futaleufu options. On this program, you’ll spend most of your nights on the riverside and in the mountains in some of the most incredible settings possible. The rugged wilderness camps range from riverside bamboo cabanas, to tree houses, to an amazing cave camp complete with a natural stone hot tub.

This trip is circuitous and covers a wide range of topographies and activities maximizing your time on the rivers while immersed in the Futaleufu wilderness. If you are looking for more creature comforts and less time in the woods, you should consider our Futaleufu Multisport based out of Futa Camp, which features safari tent lodgings a sunset bar and higher levels of comfort. Or if comfort is a top priority you may want to consider a lodge-to-lodge experience. Each trip has merit and the choices are yours!

Activities:

Rafting

The Futaleufu is legendary among whitewater community and a must-do for enthusiastic rafters. Azure blue water, relentless rollercoaster waves and large crashing holes makes for an unforgettable experience. Challenging miles and miles of class II-V (optional) whitewater is a paddlers dream come true. We’ll utilize 18-foot rafts with stern mount oar rigs while guests are paddling as well. Large tubed, catarafts are used for safety along with kayakers, so you can experience the big water professionally with safety being the first priority.

Kayaking

We have inflatable kayaks and hardshell kayaks for those who wish to paddle. There are opportunities to kayak the Espolon, Azul and Futaleufu so here’s literally something for every level.

For those who want to challenge the Futaleufu’s bigger water, we have Mariann Saether (co-author of the Rivers of Chile guidebook and badass kayaker) and her husband, Ron Fischer (co-founder of Rivers North and former Red Bull athlete), available for private kayaking guiding services.

Rock Climbing/Rappelling/Canyoning

The climbing we do is very user-friendly and we can accommodate all abilities. The zip line and 300-foot rappel are optional but tons of fun, invigorating and highly recommended. The canyoning is also optional as there is a hiking trail running adjacent to the river gorge.

Hiking

The hiking we do is spectacular and everyone can set their own pace and personal summits. You can hike as much or as little as you wish!

Fly Fishing

The Futaleufu (also known as the Rio Grande where it originates in Argentina) is becoming more and more famous for its crystal clear waters and legendary trout. One upside of our itinerary, is that you’ll be able to fish sections of the river rarely accessed.

Horseback Riding

Although not a main part of the itinerary, this activity can be organized with some advanced notice. You can ride for an hour or spend the entire day on one of the many scenic trails touring the Chilean countryside with your guide.  

Meals

Meal times are always festive occasions. In camp you will enjoy excellent meals featuring authentic and varied cuisine, Chilean & Argentine wines, microbrew beers, wood-fired hot tubs and fun evenings around the campfire. Vegetarians will love the abundance of fresh vegetables and we are happy to accommodate any dietary requirements with advance notice.

Wine Tasting

Beer, wine and liquor in camp is included in the trip cost. We also include a fun, informative evening of wine tasting. Compare and contrast the wonderful wines of Chile and Argentina while learning the history of wine making in South America.

Guides and Cultural Exchange

The trips are run predominantly by Chilean guides with ROAM tour leaders making sure everything is just right. Meeting people who live and work in the region is all part of this cross-cultural exchange.


About the Region

Chile’s long and narrow territory, located on the western side of the southern tip of South America, stretches for 4200 km from north to south between the Andes Mountains and the Pacific Ocean. Chile has an area of 756,096 km on the South American continent and 1,250,000 km in Antarctica. Easter Island, Juan Fernandez Island (of Robinson Crusoe fame), and numerous other islands are also part of the National territory.

The current population is just over 15 million, with more than a third concentrated around the capital Santiago. Chile has a highly varied geography as well as numerous climates. In the far north, between the Andes Mountains and the Pacific coast, lies the Atacama Desert, the most arid desert in the world. This area is characterized by its mineral wealth, fishing, and industry, all of which have given rise to its main cities and ports. Its cities and warm-water beaches, the high valleys and towns of the Andes, and old nitrate offices lend this region its greatest tourist attractions. From the city of La Serena south, the countryside begins to get greener due to the sporadic rains that fall over the small transversal valleys that run from east to west between mountain ranges that reach from the Andes to the Pacific Ocean. The beautiful city of La Serena, with its beaches, resorts and other sites of interest, attracts thousands of tourists every year, and has become an important tourist center.

The central valley is born slightly north of Santiago, Chile’s capital, and extends south between the Andes Mountains and the Coastal Mountain Range for approximately 1,000 km to the city of Puerto Montt. Most of the country’s population and economic activity is concentrated in this long valley. Tourism is of great importance throughout the central valley, and is centered on its beautiful beaches, lakes and volcanoes, rivers with outstanding fishing, and lovely cities where visitors receive a warm welcome and excellent service. Chile’s geography changes markedly to the south of Puerto Montt, where the continent breaks up into countless islands, channels, rivers, and glaciers, all amidst exuberant native vegetation that reaches to the very ocean shore, offering ideal surroundings for adventure tourism or for simply enjoying an intimate contact with nature. This is the area where we find the Futaleufu.

Finally at the southernmost tip of continental Chile, and reaching across all of Tierra del Fuego, lies the Patagonian Pampa. The city of Punta Arenas, with its old mansions and unique attractiveness, is the natural point of departure for places of particular interest and beauty such as Torres del Paine, Fuerte Bulnes, and the Antarctic continent.

The Futaleufu River is what draws most people to this part of Chile. This famous river is one of the most sought after whitewater destinations in the world. From December to March the Futaleufu offers adventurers a one-of-a-kind rafting and multi-sport experience. Continuous, big hydraulic flows offer all levels of rafters and kayakers rapids rated Class III to Class V.